Monday, April 13, 2009

The Addiction to Constant Communication Plagues the American Social Scene

What a spectacular spring-time holiday weekend filled with home cooked meals and citrus libations. The Easter/Passover weekend is a time for all of us stuck in our various college towns to spend time together and cherish the fact that we didn't have to catch a train, drive for hours, or fly across the country to be with family for a 48 hour period during the busiest academic time of the year.

Finals are approaching and tensions are high, but all of that disappears when good friends gather to chit-chat and pass the time.

A Sunday brunch is the exact fix anyone who's a month away from graduating needs in order to forget their worries and gossip about the latest inter-greek life drama that happened at last week's impromptu gatherings. It's an excuse to stress about the little things that don't matter instead of daily woes about the inevitable transition into "the real world".

There's one thing that bothered me during today's holiday feast. The constant use of cell phones for entertainment while in a room of your closest friends.

I suppose I missed the memo that read: "While at this social event (or any other for that matter) feel free to browse the internet while on your various wireless devices. They are no longer a simple phone but rather an intricate social tool to help carry on a conversation. It will encourage your time spent bonding with your friends or acquaintances by the simple press of a button. Don't know what to talk about? Go for a Google search. Want to watch the latest Beyonce music video? You Tube it! The possibilities are endless. There will never be another lull in any conversation you ever have ... just as long as you carry your cell phone at all times."

You can call me old fashioned, but I find this ridiculous. I'll admit I have been known to send the occasional text message while hanging out with a friend, but then again, who hasn't at this point? What I find absurd is the social implications people just three years younger than me seem to think a cell phone has.

It's understandable that shy person might turn to their cell phone as a tool to aid their socializing process, but to rely on it 24/7 seems a bit much.

People today have no idea that the rules of social etiquette have changed -- and it's all because of the cell phone.

There were days, not too long ago, that people who get dirty stares from strangers if they were caught talking on their phone while on a public bus or train. Before the Blackberry became a staple of the business man or woman on-the-go, sending messages via a phone while you were at a cocktail or dinner party was unheard of and slightly blasphemous. But now, anything goes.

Adults aren't the only ones with this addiction to constant communication. Children, teenagers, and college students have all caught on to the trend.

The saddest part is that this trend was self-inflicted. We did it to ourselves.

It's A.D.D. of the social spectrum. It's an infectious desire to be continuously connected and a fear that if that connection is lost, everything will fall apart.

There's no chance of a worldwide recall of all wireless devices connected to the internet but for the sake of humanity, I wish we'd all take a step back and minimize our usage.

Wouldn't it be nice to shut off those darn things and just spend time with each other? Turn off the TV. Shut down your computer. Put your phone on silent. Relax. Breathe some fresh air. And -- remember -- at the end of the day, all of those contraptions that feed you information are nothing but plastic and artificial intelligence.

No comments: